A baby can suffer birth hypoxia or birth asphyxia when they are deprived of oxygen in one of three scenarios: before birth, during birth, or immediately after birth. Oxygen deprivation of a baby can lead to serious medical complications for the rest of the baby’s life and it all depends on the length of the event, the amount of oxygen of which the baby was deprived, the care administered by the medical staff and other factors.
How Birth Asphyxia is Caused
Birth asphyxia is caused by any of the following events:
- There are insufficient levels of oxygen in the blood of the mother
- The airway of the baby is blocked
- The mother’s blood pressure is either too high or too low
- Prolapse or compression of the baby’s umbilical cord
- The placenta has been prematurely separated from the uterus
Symptoms of Birth Asphyxia
- Low heart rate of the baby
- Umbilical cord pressure
- The mother has low blood pressure
- The baby has too much acid in his or her blood
- No breathing or weak breathing on the part of the baby
- The baby has pale or bluish skin color
- The baby has suffered seizures
When there is insufficient oxygen for a baby before, during, or after birth the baby can suffer from a low heart rate, low blood pressure, and affect the flow of the blood throughout the body. If any of this occurs, the baby can suffer lack of sufficient blood supply to the baby’s organs, which in turn can cause the baby to suffer organ, tissue, and cell damage. If there is insufficient oxygen flow the baby’s heart, GI tract, kidneys and lungs can all be affected.
How to Detect Birth Asphyxia
Doctors can detect birth asphyxia by looking for any of the following:
- Monitoring for neurological problems
- Checking acid levels
- Measuring the Apgar score (heartbeat, color, reflexes and respiration)
- Paying close attention to the fetal heart rate monitor
When the fetal heart monitor signals an issue with the baby’s heart rate, there must be immediate action taken to rectify the baby’s heart rate. If the heart rate cannot be fixed then emergency action must be taken, such as an emergency cesarean section. This procedure is required to be performed at most hospitals within 30 minutes, however, performing the procedure in 15 minutes or less would provide the best possible outcome for the baby.
Should the medical staff caring for the mother and baby fail to recognize the warning signs of asphyxia or fail to act in a quick manner, the baby can suffer severe consequences. Aside from paralysis, brain damage, and developing cerebral palsy, the baby could also die as a result of asphyxia or hypoxia.
Birth asphyxia and hypoxia does not happen at an alarming rate but can still occur because of medical malpractice. Doctors and nurses might miss the signs of these birth issues, might not respond quickly enough to provide the proper care or even made a mistake when issuing care to prevent these birth injuries.
Contact a Pittsburgh Medical Malpractice Attorney for a Consultation About Your Birth Asphyxia Case in Pennsylvania
Were you or a loved one injured due to medical malpractice in Pennsylvania? Then you need to talk to an experienced medical malpractice lawyer as soon as possible for guidance on how to proceed. The Pittsburgh medical malpractice attorneys at Matzus Law LLC are prepared to assist you with your legal claim. We represent victims of negligent surgeons, doctors, nurses, and pharmacists throughout PA, including Pittsburgh, Butler, Cranberry Township, Greensburg, and Washington. Call us today at 412-206-5300 or email us to schedule a consultation. Our main office is located at 310 Grant Street, Suite 3210 Pittsburgh, PA 15219.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.